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Lake Washington High School senior with special needs voted homecoming king | Photos
Tre Walker is like a Lego, his family members say.
The Lake Washington High School senior binds people together – friends at school, students in the hallway or Kangs football players out on the field.
But Tre recently unified nearly the entire student body when the majority of students voted him as homecoming king.
“High school is my life,” said the 18-year-old, who has a rare syndrome in which he was born with a missing part of his 10th chromosome. “Being a Kang to me is like helping out with the football team, actively participating in different activities and sports.”
Though Tre has to work hard to do certain things due to his special needs, he is tenacious and does not take no for an answer, said his mother, Tawnee Walker.
This shows in her son’s level of involvement in school and community activities. Tre is the manager of the Kangs football team, he’s involved with the school’s soccer team, he plays a bass drum on the school’s drum line and is a member of the Redmond Fire Department’s Explorers program.
“We call him the cranberry because he gets into all the other juices,” said his father, Joe Walker.
Tre said he was surprised when he found out students nominated him for homecoming king.
“I was actually home sick sleeping when my mom startled me with this really cool announcement that I got nominated for homecoming court,” he said.
“He was like, ‘oh my gosh, I need a date,’” laughed Tawnee Walker. “He got a little stressed out.”
But Tre was again astonished when some of the other senior nominees for homecoming king asked fellow students to cast their votes for Tre.
“To be a Kang is to be one person - Tre Walker,” said senior Tommy Oliver during a video clip that all the nominees were required to produce to gain the student body’s votes. “This kid is more of a Kang than any of us will ever be in our lives. He owns more purple and white, he goes to more sporting events and, overall, he’s a Kang … Vote for Tre - he’s king.”
Senior John Lyon, also a homecoming king nominee, outlined what it meant to him to be a Kang. He reserved the end of his video clip to say, “Vote for Tre.”
When Tre watched the video, he said “it was awesome. It was really amazing.”
His mother pulls out a video she took of the homecoming assembly at the Lake Washington High School auditorium on Oct. 17. The crowd chants, “Tre! Tre! Tre!” as he walks down the auditorium on a red carpet.
“The stands were rocking up and down,” recalled Tre’s brother, Brett Walker, 15.
Shelby Farrell, who was Lake Washington High School’s homecoming queen last year and now attends the University of Idaho, attended the homecoming assembly.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Farrell recalled. “There was such a strong sense of unity in the gym when Tre walked down the red carpet and received a standing ovation from the entire school. When Tre won, the entire gym went crazy, cheering and chanting his name. It was such an amazing moment and I was so happy to be a part of it.”
Lake Washington student Jordan Zigweid said when Tre was crowned, he was “very proud” that he voted for his good friend.
Tre said as he was being crowned, he thought, “I can’t believe this is happening. This is the best day of my life.”
Approximately 760 kids in grades nine through 12 voted; Tre received 89 percent of the vote, said Valerie Yob, the school’s activities director.
During the homecoming game on Oct. 18, in which Lake Washington beat Interlake 56-20, Tre made a royal appearance. He and homecoming queen Maddie Shepard rode onto the field during the game as they sat atop a convertible, wearing their homecoming garb.
Following the half-time appearance, Tre jumped out of the car and ran over to play in the drum line, where members threw him up in the air, said Tawnee Walker.
“It was really cool,” Brett Walker said. “Tre is a social kid. He knows everybody in the school. He knows how to introduce one person to another. In a way, Tre holds the whole school together. Tre’s just opened arms, no matter what they look like, no matter who they are, Tre’s just there to take them in and make them a part of it.”
Christina Thomas, Lake Washington High School principal, said she is “very proud” of the students’ support of Tre.
His parents are also proud of the school and the Lake Washington School District.
“It says a lot about the school that they would be really supportive,” Joe Walker said. “It was really something that the whole school got behind him and it just unified them. We are really proud of him and we’re really proud of the school too for their support.”
Tawnee Walker said the school district has done a “great job” of building up the school community to be one of “support and inclusion.”
Tre’s next moves will hopefully be seen on the basketball court. He plans on trying out for the basketball team.
He is also gearing up to become a firefighter after high school.
He is currently taking a fire and EMS course at Lake Washington Institute of Technology called Washington Network of Innovative Careers.
Tre dons his fire gear and explains how heavy his boots are, weighing 10 pounds each.
He says it only takes him 45 seconds to put on his “bunker” gear.
“That’s super good,” he says.